Audio: Essentials for the best small business website design
In today’s video we’re going to share the essential ingredients for creating the best small business website design you possibly can.
We’ll include 13 reasons why you might need a website redesign. What your business wants in a website. What consumers want in a website. And what Google wants to rank a website so people can see you in the first place.
Mark Ambrose with Video4Ttraffic.com here, we help small businesses grow using digital marketing strategies and website design. Stick around, we’ll be right back.
Incredibly 45 percent of small businesses don’t have a website. According to a 2017 survey by CNBC and Survey Monkey. Which is in direct contrast to the 97% of consumers who looked online for local businesses in the same year, and the 50% of consumers who say a website determines whether or not they trust the company enough to do business with them. That’s from a Stanford University study.
But you don’t have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. In a world where everyone’s attention is on their phones and other devices, you’ve already lost half of your prospects if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website that provides value to the consumer.
I know, I know it’s really sad, and should have those business owners feeling a lot like this right?
But many local business owners don’t think they need a website. This is part fear of technology, and part ego. Either way it’s unacceptable if you want to grow your business. The ego is always saying “my customers always come back,” and “my business is all word-of-mouth,” and “it’s all local and referral.”
Well, these comments, of course, are all true if that’s all you’re doing right. In fact, we’re going to make a video in the future here, entitled “Is your ego killing your business?”
But business owners with that outlook, they’re just looking at the entire thing the wrong way. Your business lives in a touch and voice-activated digital world now, which is actually the greatest time in the history of the world to be a small business owner. Your online brand can compete with anyone now, big companies and well-established local companies alike.
You can look better, provide greater value, have faster processes, grow a better local reputation. You can deliver content now to more people at one time more easily and less costly than ever before in the history of the world. So to ignore the new digital world is to ignore the greatest opportunities in the history of the world for your business to be seen, get heard, and grow.
And it all starts with your website, it’s the central marketing hub of your online brand. Even your offline advertising is either sending consumers to your website. Or they’re just naturally going to look for you after seeing your advertisement or hearing it, and then they’re going to look for reviews about your company. It’s a natural behavioral process.
So all the emails you send out, all your social media posts, all your video, blog content marketing, everything… everybody is eventually winding up on your website, or most of them are.
It’s your brand, it’s all people are going to see, for the most part, even if you have a brick and mortar, those people that come in there will see your company as it exists in the real world. In the online world your online your site, your social media platform accounts, and your blog network are all how people see your brand and judge your brand.
So your website is at the focal point of all that and then it needs to rank high. You have to rank for local search terms so you’re driving traffic to the website. Otherwise it’s not working.
Your site has to attract people and engage those people with high quality content, then convert those visitors into leads, into phone calls, and to your mailing lists so you can continue to deliver value to them and get them to know like and trust you over time and decide to do business with you.
Your website needs to be integrated with your email and text message marketing, social media, and needs to be integrated with Google Maps and Google Analytics.
It needs to consistently put out content so that you’re staying connected to your customers both through your blog as well as through email, text message, and social media marketing.
Your website needs to be the hub of your reputation management. So you need to have a page on your website for testimonials, which has testimonials, case studies, and customer reviews. Videos are great. It should not only allow consumers to read reviews, but also to post them right there, or with a link to Google and Yelp and elsewhere to write a review direct on those sites for you.
Your website of course today, has to be responsive, meaning the screen automatically sizes to mobile or tablet or laptop or desktop no matter what size the screen is. Over 60% of search today is on mobile. Of course if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site just like we said in the beginning, then you’ve already lost 60% of customers in that case.
Your site needs to be secure so the transactions and all information that goes from somebody on your site to you needs to be encrypted. That’s done if you look on your site up in Google. Put in the address bar.
Go to your site and on any page on it you should see that padlock and the HTTPS for secure and then you know your site is secure. Anything without it will say “Not secure” in the address bar on any non-secure site.
Beginning July 2018 Google’s Chrome browser will actually interrupt the user before going to a non-secure site. First it’ll say ‘not secure’ up in the address bar, and in many cases it’ll put a page in between the user before getting to the site saying this page you’re about to go to is NOT SECURE and would you like to backpedal and bounce out of here? Which of course is what most people will do and others will simply not trust the information they’re sending through your forms and such because it says “not secure” up in the address bar.
Either way it’s a bad move so go get an SSL certificate installed. You take that up with your web hosting company, or if you have a website manager you should instruct them to get that going ASAP.
Okay, here’s 13 reasons why your website might need a redesign.
If you’re not getting enough leads of course that’s number one right. It’s all about growing email lists, SMS text lists, getting calls, and then your sales team and your staff converting those leads into sales and customers.
If your website is not mobile-friendly you definitely need a website redesign.
If web pages take forever to load, it could be a lot of reasons; could be the page; could be the hosting company; could be too many images on the page that are too big and not compressed, etc. But if it takes more than a couple of seconds you start losing visitors.
If your website doesn’t show up in Google of course it’s just a ghost, The Invisible Man.
So if you’re not showing up on page one and really I would argue in the top six – three in maps and three in organic – then you’re just simply not getting enough traffic from Google, Yelp, and elsewhere.
You don’t like the look feel functionality of your website itself so how could you like how could consumers right? So if you don’t, they won’t.
If your website looks like it’s from another era, with tiny print and horrible colors and just looks like it’s from yesteryear that’s how consumers see it also. They’re judging you first and foremost by what they see.
If your website is mostly all text, then it’s putting people to sleep. Today it’s a multimedia world, you need video, audio, graphics, infographics, and you need to space out your text, make it scannable, and use headlines, subheadings, etc.
If navigating your website is a nightmare, then people are out of there right? So your menu needs to make it easy for anyone to access anything they need in one or two levels down. They should be able to get anywhere they want.
You should have a search bar so they can search if your site.
If it’s all about you then everybody’s out of there. It needs to be about them!
You need a redesign if you have no idea who’s visiting. Are you connected to Google Search console? Google Analytics?
Do you know who’s visiting? How they’re getting there? What search terms they’re using? How long they’re staying? Are they bouncing back? Are they going to other pages? Are they interacting with actions that you want them to take? Etc.
You need a redesign if your website isn’t growing marketing lists.
Are you growing your email lists? Your SMS text lists? Are you getting more phone calls? As we said earlier, these are the ultimate goals of your website.
If you have no strategy for your website, or your web pages, well then of course you need to take a look at a redesign. Each page should have a strategy behind it to provide value and then convert those visitors into those leads.
You need a redesign if your site is not integrated with social media channels. If you have Facebook, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. then your site needs to be integrated with them so people can travel from one to the other quickly and easily. They can follow you on any of those from your website.
Call to Action
If any or many of those 13 reasons for a website redesign are true for you or lots of those are, then you need to take action.
So let’s take a look at what kind of action.
What does your business want from a website?
Of course as we said you want to lead sales and customers!
You want to establish your brand and image.
Grow your marketing lists.
Grow followers and subscribers
Stay connected and create loyalty amongst your existing customers to create raving fans who were willing to refer you to the friends, family, and associates.
And all of that is achieved with great content and good design. With calls to action to convert visitors into leads, mailing lists, and phone calls.
What consumers want from a website.
First and foremost every page has to load really fast; two seconds or less. Anything above that and you start losing significant numbers of visitors.
The site needs to be easy to navigate. Your menu, as we said, needs to make it easy for them to click around and find what they’re looking for. It needs to be easy to contact you. Up in the header should always be at least your phone number and email.
You should make it available for them the phone you, text you, get driving direction maps if your a brick-and-mortar store or location, email, a link directly or calendar let them set appointments right on your calendar, a link to look at your menu if you’re a restaurant, or to make a reservation on your calendar, etc.
And all of those should be one-click away.
Of course the consumers want valuable content.
First and foremost it’s all about them.
Provide help, tips, and guidance, assistance, support, and advice. Everything you can to provide help and value to them, which in turn will make your life easier.
Put your top 10 most frequently asked questions up there. That will cut down on phone calls into your staff and at the same time, provide value to your consumer.
People also want easy access to customer reviews and testimonials. So make it easy for them. Make a page as we described, and link out to all the sources where you want testimonials. Allow them to write one on your site and allow them to read them there.
The consumer also wants easy access to any special events, and any offers , discounts, or promotions you’re making available. So if you’re more on the retail side especially, you should make these a big part of your website.
Of course consumers are looking for the personal touch. Videos with the staff in there, and again all kinds of content directed at providing value to the consumer.
You can see over time that consistency and all of those things. Of providing value and volume equals leads. This is a chart from HubSpot showing the impact of monthly blog posts on inbound leads. The more you deliver the more you get back in leads.
Deliver high quality content and the more often you do it, the more high-quality leads you will receive in return, given that everything else is done accurately and well.
What Google wants in order to rank your website is our last topic.
Google wants topical content, both in depth and in breadth.
So if we look at this chart, at the bottom is the Google position. If you want to rank in the top 3 positions in Google for a local search term, you go up on the left axis and see that you need about a 2,000 word article on that topic.
There’s the depth, and then the breadth would be trying to cover related subtopics to the larger topic at hand. So depth and breadth will get you ranked if it’s good quality writing mixed in with nice graphics and it’s easy to read and scan.
Google wants to see authority links to your website.
These are links to your site from other sites. And those other sites are best if they’re either very well-known, very high traffic, either nationally, internationally, or Local. If they’re in whatever industry you’re in that’s even better. And if they’re local to you, that’s better still.
The more authority links coming into your site tells Google that others think you are indeed an authority on that subject, whatever the topic is of the pages that they’re linking to. Those sites are willing to put their neck on the line so to say, and link out to you and let consumers go and read your content. The more of those you have, Google sees it as the more known in the community you are, especially if the links are in your niche and local. The links mean you’re more reputable to Google.
Next Google wants to see that you are in a few dozen of the major online business directories like Google My Business, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, City Search, Angies List, etc.
Those are structured citations, the business directories are, and then there’s unstructured citations, which are your name, address, phone (NAP) embedded into a photograph or video and shared on photo or video sharing sites, or perhaps your name, address, phone, is simply mentioned on another business website, maybe with a link out to you, etc. You need both. You need all kinds of citations.
You need to be in a few dozen of the major business directories. The more you’re in, the more Google sees it as your company being proactive, participating in the digital world, and that your company is spread out everywhere, making you a more popular resource for whatever information you’re providing.
It’s very important by the way, that your name, address, and phone or NAP are exactly the same in all of these directories and in all the citations.
If you’re using if you’re a suite number, make sure you spell out “suite” completely if that’s how you normally do it. However you do it, do it the same on all of them so every single street address is the same.
If you’re using “___, Inc.” in business name. Be sure to use it on ALL of them. Etc.
So use EXACT name, address, and phone on all of them.
And the reason is inconsistent directory listings is the #1 reason why your business or your website does not rank in Google, Yelp, Bing, and others.
Okay next Google is looking for search engine optimization (SEO).
This is on your website itself. It’s the title of the pages, the website address or URL of the page. Does they have keywords in them? Are the subheadings of the page laid out so Google can understand what the page is about?
Is there a keyword optimized description?
SEO is all about coding and keyword content.
In addition to this should be schema markup, or what they call structured data code.
Again this is additional code now, machine readable language that speaks to Google’s robot in exact terms that are set out by schema.org, an internationally accepted organization.
There’s structured data code that you can put on your page that tells Google on your homepage and your contact us page that you’re either an organization, or local business for instance. Then on your products and services page, there is additional code that you can use, services and products code, to name and describe them and the area that you serve.
If you have a testimonials page you could have reviews structured data code on that page, which tells Google how many reviews you have, what the average rating is, and that’s how you get those little star ratings, what they call Rich Snippets, in the organic search results in Google. You know how you search for something and you see some of those results will have the review stars in them. That’s because they have this code on that page.
There’s also Q&A or question and answer structured data code, which is great because as we move more and more into a voice-activated world, people naturally ask questions when we speak it out. But when we type it in we tend to shorten our search term.
So voice is usually a longer phrase and in the form of a question. Voice is now almost 20% of all search and I believe Google’s predicting 50 to 70 percent in just five years or so. So Q&A code is going to become more and more important and everybody has a top 10 or so questions that you get from your customers and your prospects. There might be two different lists and the answers to them.
You should create pages and put that Q&A code on those pages.
There’s also “related properties code” to help Google’s robot understand what your page is, and what your website’s about, what your business is about, etc. You can relate it to your Google My Business listing within Google map.
That says to Google, hey this is us over here. You can also relate it to a Wikipedia article about the same exact topic if you can find one. And you can also state “we’re the same company as” all of these various social media platforms that you will list. This is my Facebook page, this is my YouTube page, etc.
Alright, so Schema Markup is very important and very misunderstood. Most of the plugins will not help you, they do it incorrectly. Really the best that we’ve seen is Schema App. I would avoid maybe all the others really. Look into it yourself.
Next is Google My Business.
Google says that your Google My Business is important.
Google gets 75 to 85% of all search traffic so really this is more of your homepage than your website is, if you will. And you need to make sure it is fully optimized. You have completed every single section that Google wants you to fill out. You put in lots of photos of your products, services, your staff, your team, and continue to add to it monthly.
Google wants to see that the listing is active, that you’re making posts. You can make a post every seven days currently in 2018 and you should do that. Your post can be offers. So you can actually make a free advertisement on
the biggest business directory in the world. Right smack in the middle of it for nothing.
So get in and take advantage of your Google posts and make offers.
Enact all the options possible for people to contact you.
You can put in a link for an appointment from Google My Business to your website.
You can allow text messages. Etc. So enact all the features that Google My Business has to offer to allow consumers to contact you.
It’s extremely important.
Lastly Google is looking for consumer behavior on your site.
When they click to your site what percentage stays there or what percentage goes back immediately? Did they like the look of your site or not? Was it all text, or bad colors, or was it old or not mobile friendly or whatever?
If they left right away Google is measuring that and if you have a bad click-through rate, and/or a high bounce rate, which is where they bounce back out of there, then your site will suffer in the rankings. Google is looking for people who are spending time on your site. Where they’re going? Are they navigating through other pages on your site? Are they watching and listening to media on your site? Etc.
In summary on how to design a website for a digital world.
First and foremost is domain structure. You should have a home page, about us, a contact us page, a locations page if you have multiple locations or to describe your service area, and then you should have product
and service pages. Keep those in topical silo structures and clusters.
Topical silos. So Google search “domain silo structure” or “cluster structure” and learn a little bit about that. Basically, you’re just keeping all information about one topic on one main page, and all future posts that you make about that subject you’re relating to the main page. Google “silo structure web design” to learn more.
Next is hosting, your web hosting you need good hosting, not cheap hosting. Good web hosting for speed and security and I would recommend daily backups as well. Very important.
Search engine optimization. It’s of course extremely important that everything you do needs to be designed first foremost for the consumer but then you can only find a consumer if it’s all optimized for what they are looking for, which starts with search engine optimization.
Then you from there you are creating high-quality and in-demand content on a regular basis and including some local content. Occasionally you want to include content that has nothing to do with your business at all but everything to do with its location and the area you serve.
So write articles about your favorite restaurants in the area, your favorite spots for the family, favorite city parks, etc. Then link out. Put links in those pages that link out to those locations. That helps Google’s robots and others further understand the proximity which your business is in and that those are the areas that you service.
Your website should be designed around marketing funnels, which is a topic offering some free advice as well as a free guide of some sort, a special offer, or simply to join your mailing list for your newsletter.
Use calls to action to get them to call or join your lists. So you can continue to deliver value and get them to know, like, and trust you over time.
It all needs to be integrated with your email marketing.
It needs to be integrated with your social media channels. So traffic can flow back and forth and people can easily like and follow your social media channels.
Same with your reputation management.
Your website should be the hub of it.
Have a web page dedicated to it, and make it easy for people to read and leave testimonials.
Include structured data code as we had just said and talk to the robots. Your competitors are mostly failing on this subject. It’s one place where you can certainly gain an upper hand and it’s a major one because you’re talking to the
Integrate your Google My Business and maps listing right into your web pages. On the home page and contact us page. Embed it on your service pages. Embed your Google My Business map right in there.
Brand your Google+ to your Google My Business listing and then integrate that on your website too so visitors can choose to follow you.
Syndicate content through G+ of course.
Then your website needs to be integrated with Google Search Console, Google Analytics and Tag Manager so you know who is coming, where they’re going, how long they’re staying, what brought them there, and if they’re taking the actions you want to take.
So very important… don’t hand this job over to somebody just to make you a pretty little templated website for real cheap. Don’t give it to your brother-in-law, or sister-in-law, or your assistant unless they’re true web designers or developers. And even then you need much more than just a web designer or developer.
Your website needs to be fully developed in conjunction with an SEO specialist and web developer. Starting with the SEO specialist and what topics to discuss, and how to lay it all out so then the web designer can go from there.
It takes the two to work together to get the job done right so you can rank in local searches and attract visitors.
Okay so thanks for watching.
Make the digital world your friend, deliver value, dominate local search, and watch your business grow beyond the dreams that you even had for it.
So let’s see… a question of the day is “Is your company effectively using its website to grow your email lists and how well is that marketing working out for you?”
Answer in the comments below, or if you had some other comment on our video or question by all means fire away and maybe we’ll make a video about it.
We hope you got value from this. If so, subscribe to our youtube channel or mailing list below for more tips and strategies on how to grow your local business.
Again thanks for watching.
Create a great day!
Source for baby photo in video: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donnieray/9436653177